As the year comes to an end, I look back on it and see so many wonderful things. While there have been many deaths and things that have caused great sadness for many—sometimes me too—on a personal level I had the most amazing year.
Last January marked the first convention I ever spoke publicly about my sexual abuse and PTSD. I didn’t go into detail about my experiences, but I did talk about how they’d affected me. As well as how I used dominance and submission to heal some of these things that traditional therapy wasn’t able to do for me. I remember shaking during that panel, pinching my leg so I wouldn’t check out or disassociate while I was speaking.
I did it. I spoke in front of people about things I was terrified to talk about.
After the convention and over the next couple of months I had some personal things to learn. Historically, I’ve had difficulty letting people go. Especially when I care deeply for them. But during this time I learned that there is a level of toxicity that I cannot keep in my life. I can care, but it needs to be from a distance. I made many difficult decisions during this time and ended up letting go of some folks bringing too much drama into my life. While this doesn’t seem like a good thing—as letting people go hurts—it was vital to the next phase of my growth.
Seeing myself as worthy of people that hold themselves accountable and treat me well changed a lot for me.
Because of these changes, by the time I reached Norwescon, I was confident on a level I’d never been before. Which was hugely helpful as it was my first Norwescon as a panelist and I was speaking—again—about troubling topics. One of my panels was on enthusiastic consent and it was during that panel, as I was answering someone’s question, that I realized just how often I’d not consented to sexual acts with enthusiasm. It brought me to tears in the middle of the panel, but I am still thankful for the way that all unfolded. One simple question from the audience led to so much more for me.
Norwescon also offered a lot of fun. So much kinky fun too! All with lovely, enthusiastic consent by me and ALL involved. It was by far my favorite Norwescon yet!
Shortly after, I led an event for the nonprofit I’m President of. While I won’t name names here (as this is my personal blog and not the org’s), I met a pretty wonderful agent. When we spoke, she thought she was talking to me about my novel. Hell, even I thought that’s what we were talking about. But later I realized that what we were actually discussing was my life. How unconventional love took me from weak and passive to strong and assertive.
Up until that point, I didn’t see things in quite that manner. But she was right. MANY people love me so much that they’ve gone to great lengths to help me heal and grow. My life story is one of epic love. Not mushy, romantic—you complete me—nonsense but REAL love.
I have an extraordinary amount of love around me all the time. And seeing that, having someone that hardly knew me point that out, it helped me to see that the love was there because I was and am worthy of it.
This was another huge turning point for me.
As summer hit, my schedule got pretty mad. I paneled and ran a writing workshop at Westercon 69, where I met more phenomenal people. It felt like one giant party between so much fun at the convention and all the great folks staying with the same friends I was. No matter where I was, every bit of that was a blast. And all this happening while I was also realizing my husband’s unemployment was running out and I was going to have to take a day job the moment I got home.
I hadn’t worked a day job in eleven years. The thought of working again sort of terrified me. I was far more concerned with the potential of not finding a job in time, but thankfully I did right away thanks to a friend. It was then I realized EXACTLY how much I was capable of. Because not only was I still writing, running the nonprofit (and prepping for our big four-day event), managing some folks’ social media, being a wife, mom, friend, submissive, and occasional Domme when evening time allowed, but I was working a day job too!
I didn’t think I was capable of doing so much, but I did!
Then came the big four-day event for the writing workshop I’m President of. It went well too! Sure, there’s always minor snafus. Like rooms not having AC and the elevator not working… but we managed and it was so much fun!
After that came Anglicon, where I also ran a mini-workshop and paneled. It was a smaller convention, but it served as a great addition to my year as that is where a fellow author inspired me to look into becoming a therapist. He’d suggested I do so and at the time I was somewhat reluctant to the idea—as it means a lot of schooling—but his words stayed with me. So when the idea was brought about again by others, including my own therapist, I decided it was where I wanted to put my energy.
So… as of 2017, I will be in school again working toward my BA in social work, then onto my MA.
The last big convention I attended over the summer was WDS (World Domination Summit). I know, I know… it sounds so kinky! But it wasn’t and isn’t a place for kink. What it is is a place for ambitious people, go-getters, folks that want to run their own businesses and work toward changing the world one step at a time.
I wouldn’t have been able to attend this event if it wasn’t for the kindness of some dear friends gifting me the membership. And I’m so thankful they did. I learned many things at that summit. Some are below… and while they aren’t the only things I learned there (including that I was much farther along on my path of success than I realized), these are some key points:
1—I’m worthy of good things and people.
2—I don’t need anyone’s permission.
3—Facing our fears is the only way to live.
4—No one does it on their own. We all need a team.
5—Find a problem that you can fix. Then fix it.
Number five was in regard to business. The speaker had told us that if we want to run a successful business, that we need to find a problem and offer solutions to fix that problem. This would later play a role in my decision to become a therapist as well as open the publishing company.
WDS changed me. The experiences I had around that time as well. All changes for the better.
There was a lot I let go of during this time as well. I took responsibility for things I’d not wanted to, I was held accountable for them, and then got to let go and start fresh. I’ve worked hard not to repeat unhealthy habits and poor choices. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m still keeping on this.
October was when I officially began looking for schools. I want to work with sex offenders specifically, as I think so much of that behavior comes from sexual shaming and oppression. Not all, as there are certainly evil people in this world, but educating about consent and using sexuality to heal is where I want to place focus. But this is still far off in regard to me working with people in a legal sense. And I wanted to educate now.
Thus came my next big project… opening a publishing company. I’ve wanted to for about a year now, but until I understood my motivations and what I wanted to accomplish, I didn’t want to jump in. But I realized that this was an area I could start educating people while also providing delicious, sexy stories. So I opened SinCyr Publishing, an erotica publishing company with the focus of shifting rape culture one sexy story at a time.
In fact, I was planning to hold off just a bit longer on the publishing company, but then our country took a turn for the worst when it comes to sexism and inequality. Opening the publishing company was then top priority, and as with everything else wonderful in my life, I’ve had no shortage of help in making this happen.
Finally, I went on stage and shared a story at The Mystery Box Show. That particular story was a year and a half in the making. I didn’t understand the story I wanted/needed to tell. And it was a hard one, because talking about abuse and memories in front of that large of an audience was terrifying. And while most of my story was about healing and coming, even the tiny portion where I shared a specific memory was hard. Even harder when I found out I was going on stage after Dan Savage. I knew his story would be great and I was so nervous that I’d disassociate and forget who I was in front of the audience. But I didn’t. I got through the tough part and had a blast sharing the sexy part.
The moment I walked off stage I felt a level of freedom that I’ve not experienced before. I’ve battled with these memories most of my life and have always been so afraid to talk about them—to tell… But telling was powerful. The experience made me grow in ways I never thought would happen.
But I grew.
I did it.
This year has brought so much goodness into my life. I’ve met great people, including one that lives super close to me! I’ve learned better/healthier boundaries. I’ve found out that I’m more than capable, even when it comes to big things… I’ve learned to love and accept myself, including the parts of me that others tried desperately to shame me for…
I’ve had a great year.
To top it off, I’ve gotten to play auntie to two adorable boys. One that was born super early but is a powerhouse of strength. I’ve also written almost forty articles for different websites (though there are still about ten in the queue for publishing). I’ve been in multiple anthologies. I’ve explored new places. Tried things that scared me. Healed parts of me that were disconnected from other parts of me. And I’ve loved and been loved.
2016 was a great year. I have no idea what all 2017 will hold, but if it’s anything like this last year has been, I know it will be fantastic.